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Piedmont Real Estate Blog

A Sorry Mess

Apr. 2, 2011
Categorized in: Business of Real Estate

You're going to have to forgive me.

I usually avoid a lot of inside the real estate industry talk. This blog is meant to be educational to people interested in buying or selling homes or even just owning them. It's not focused on talking to the real estate industry.

Today is different.

NAR (National Association of REALTORS) has decided to raise it's dues in order to spend more money on its lobbying efforts.

Every citizen ought to be upset about this and the underlying causes.

As a member I am outraged and frustrated.

I completely understand why they've decided to do this. The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court last year means there is now a no-holds-barred arms race in terms of political contributions. (There ought to be a sign outside the Capitol reading "For Sale Here: Legislators") NAR is concerned that banks, long wanting to get into the real estate business themselves (and not just as owners of foreclosures) could use this opportunity to get laws changed in their favor. They're worried about possible assaults on the Mortgage Interest Deduction and with what will take the place of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Their solution is to have a pile of money with which to influence the outcomes.

I believe that the influence of money is destroying our democracy. Giving to the PAC (Political Action Committee) that REALTOR associations use to influence politics has always been voluntary and I have always declined, believing that it would be hypocritical to decry the influence of PAC money but become part of the problem when it seemed in my best interest.

Now it seems that my only options are likely to be let NAR use my money for purposes that I am ethically opposed to, or leave the National Association of REALTORs. The way the system works, that would make it much harder for me to work as a real estate broker.

This decision is not yet final and I'd urge anyone in the industry to plan on attending the NAR mid-year meeting in DC to protest this decision. The meeting on this is May 11th at 3:30.

For those of you not a part of the industry, I'd urge you to get involved in working to limit the influence of $$$s in politics. (Changing the Supreme Court make up would be a good start!)

I'm curious to know, if you're a real estate agent or broker what do you think? If you're a member of the public, are you concerned about the influence of money in politics?

NAHB and Political Money

Feb. 15, 2008
Categorized in: Real Estate Legislation

I heard a story on Marketplace last week about the National Association of Home Builders.

Apparently, they've decided to withholding donating any money to political candidates this year because they believe that Washington has not done enough to take care of the housing crisis.

I applaud their actions while completely disagreeing with their rationale.

Here's hoping every PAC feels the same way and stops donating!

Don't let anyone kid you, PACs donate money in the hopes of influencing policy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is also likely to try and sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. And, if you look at the history of how politicians vote, it's pretty rare to see one vote against the interests of those who have donated large amounts to their campaign.

As far as NAHB's belief that the government has not done enough to help them, I'd be interested in seeing their proposals for what the government should be doing on their behalf.

I believe the government has a role to play in this crisis. I believe they need to make sure that the credit markets stay liquid. I believe it's in everyone's best interests for them to try and help families stay in their homes, so long as they can truly afford them. But I don't see bailing out individual businesses as either desirable or necessary in the current climate.

If the government does what it can on the above two items, if it works to put a floor under the real estate market, the builders, like everyone else in the industry will recover over time.

So, NAHB, please do keep your money, and not only this year! Now if only we can convince some of the other PACs to do the same!

Piedmont Real Estate Blog

Blog by Julie Emery
Amissville, Virginia

An ongoing dialog on real estate news, opinion and trends in Northern Virginia and the greater Piedmont area. Julie is an Associate Broker at Frankly Real Estate Inc, 6304 Crossroads Circle, Ste 102, Falls Church, VA 22044

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